Culture Shock

Picture 6A friend on Facebook posted a link the other day to an interesting art exhibition by Gade, who was born in 1971 in Lhasa (to a Chinese father and Tibetan mother).

As the series is described:

Paintings from his ‘New Buddha Series’ and his ‘Diamond Series’ reflect this culture shock with images of such American iconic pop figures as Mickey Mouse, Spiderman and the Hulk appearing in the centre of traditional-looking works. Gade points out that these figures show up in every corner of the earth. “When I visited a tiny village called Pazi at the base of Mount Xishabangma (8,102 metres) in the Himalayas, the kids there had backpacks with Mickey Mouse on them, and were drinking Coca Cola. That made me realise the incredible power of those ubiquitous emblems of Western culture and Western values.”

And it got me thinking: how is this art not an example of code switching? And how is code switching not just a synonym for culture?

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“I’ll Just Get Whatever’s on Special…”

wireEarly on in some of our discussions on code switching — specifically, concerning what in the world of signification ought to be understood as code switching — the following scene from HBO’s series once popular series, “The Wire,” was cited as a classic example of what some might think the term code switching best names.

The backstory here is that a teacher has agreed to take to dinner the winners of an in-class assignment, and the following is what results:

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he Edge comes to town
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Gender Switching

somelikeithotDid you ever see the classic comedy “Some Like it Hot?” (1959), in which Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis hide from the mob (and both fall in love with Marilyn Monroe), by impersonating members of an all-female band that’s on the road?

Question: when does code switching become cross-dressing?

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Code Switch at Work?

wemmickIn chapter 25 of Great Expectations, we read the following quote from Mr. John Wemmick, the clerk for Miss Havisham’s lawyer, Mr. Jaggers. In response to Pip’s question of whether his boss knows about his home life, where he gently cares for his aged father, Wemmick says:

No; the office is one thing, and private life is another. When I go into the office, I leave the Castle behind me, and when I come into the Castle, I leave the office behind me. If it’s not in any way disagreeable to you, you’ll oblige me by doing the same. I don’t wish it professionally spoken about. Continue reading “Code Switch at Work?”